By Ukachukwu Okorie
Two days ago, LEO VARADKAR got the backing of the Dáil (Irish Parliament), to become Ireland’s youngest ever, first openly gay Taoiseach (Prime Minister). One of the celebration spots was at the Coppers Face Jacks where Leo Varadkar celebrated becoming Taoiseach by having a big party. Just after making his new Cabinet known, Varadkar hit the dance floor later at night with his ministers. Is it the dawn of a new era in Ireland? Well Fine Gael has done the unthinkable with so much ease. One can imagine what is going on in the minds of Gerry Adams, Michael Martins, Fianna Fail ranks and some Irish political hawks that will be saying, “We never signed up for this”. The fact is that – Ireland has opened up a new chapter – Fine Gael is towing the part of the United States Democratic Party by beefing-up its catchment area of voters and inspiring Ireland’s Youth.
In accepting his nomination as Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar stressed on the importance of opportunity and eulogized his predecessor Enda Kenny: “In fact, I took my seat for the first time in the Dáil on this exact date ten years ago. He also gave me the opportunity to serve on the Front Bench and then as a Minister, an opportunity to demonstrate my ability and potential. Without opportunity, there is no hope and there can be no progress and this is a theme I will return to later.”
I have followed Leo Varadkar up from Ben Dunne’s Westpoint Gym where we train together to his campaign spats with Simon Coveney, and I did say he’s a guy who cut out his priorities. But most importantly, he took his opportunities, that ten years after getting elected as a deputy, he became Prime Minister. It looks so easy but it isn’t. Now the crux of the matter: I know there are problems of Housing, Brexit, Public Sector Pay, Abortion and Garda Reform but I choose to dwell on the need to expand the path of opportunity in Ireland.
As Fine Gael has opened up this opportunity for new ideas, youthful vigour and equality, other parties can tow same steps or languish for long on the opposition bench. Whatever happens, no nation like Ireland can talk about success in the 21st century without putting into practice what Prime Minister Varadkar said,
“..and so every proud parents in Ireland today can dream big dreams for their children. Every boy and girl can know there is no limit to their ambition, to their possibilities if they are given the opportunity. And so let that be our mission as Fine Gael to build in Ireland, a republic of opportunity, one in which every individual is given the opportunity to meet their potential, and every part of the country is given its opportunity to share in our prosperity”.
Opportunity means a lot to different people: It can be getting a job after graduation without much ado, it is finding a gainful job to take care of family and self, It is better earnings for someone who works and willing to than another that idles away time, and it is equity, fairness and justice. Opportunity also means reforming the social welfare system whereby agents of the state encourage people to get on the ‘Dole’ before certain services can be assessed. Opportunity is recognizing the abundant of talents in this Island and making use of their services. It is affordable college to all who desire education and right to the dignity of man irrespective of who you are.
I sincerely felicitate with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael and the Republic of Ireland on this historic feat. I love this country and will always be proud of ‘My Ireland’, a small nation with big heart. Come on Ireland!
This opinion is of Ukachukwu Okorie, not AfricaWorld News